The Body, an art rock band consisting of Chip King and Lee Buford, has a heavy sound that is both melodic and loud. The duo is touring in support of their latest album, No One Deserves Happiness, on Thrill Jockey Records and will be performing what promises to be a great show at the Rumba Cafe on Thursday night.
I recently had the chance to speak with drummer Lee Buford.
How did The Body get it’s start?
LB: Me and Chip, back in Arkansas, played in a few bands together. We hung out all the time, he was in a couple of bands that I was in. It just made sense.
The Body has a unique, heavy droning sound, almost like a German noise band from the ’80s.
LB: That would be a good way to describe it. That’s pretty accurate.
But it also has a melodic tone to it that that stuff didn’t have. It’s a interesting, it’s good stuff. I’m really enjoying the new album, No One Deserves Happiness. Where did the title of the album come from?
LB: I don’t know really. It just came to us one day.
Is it just the two of you on the album?
LB: There’s a bunch of people. Our friend Chrissy (Wolpert of The Assembly of Light Choir) plays horns and cello. Chrissy and Maralie (Armstrong) are the two female vocalists.
I really like the female vocals and how they are deep in the mix. Are they touring with you?
LB: Chrissy will be playing a few shows in the New York area, places near where she lives. Just the two of us will be on most of the tour.
Any thing special about the album from previous ones?
LB: This one has more female vocals, a lot more electronic and stuff, trying to go less guitar, less drums, I guess.
The drumming is great on it. I know you’re the drummer. I did hear some drum machines on the record.
LB: There is a good amount of drum machines on there (laughs).
The human drumming is pretty good too, especially on the second track. It’s pretty sweet.
What are your thoughts on the music industry, what’s your take on how people consume music?
LB: I haven’t had a chance to check out Apple Music or Spotify or anything. They have pros and cons. The music industry, I don’t know, most music is pretty bad.
Most of it is pretty bad, I find the good stuff is at the smaller venues. When did your new album come out?
You’re going to be touring on that for while?
LB: I don’t think there is anything else coming out. We may tour with a different band. There will be six of us, not just Chip and I, and a different feel.
Do you have a favorite format?
LB: I like vinyl a lot, also tape. It’s cheap and easy to carry around. I like all formats equally.
Did you release The Body on vinyl?
LB: Yes, everything’s on vinyl.
Can you tell the difference between your fans in different cities? Do you notice anything from town to town?
LB: Not so much, we started in ’99. We have fans in every town.
The musical influences that led to The Body, where did that come from?
LB: In the beginning we just wanted to do something different, creative, something we both enjoyed.
Do you have any personal influences or maybe a favorite drummer?
LB: My favorite drummer is Max Roach.
A jazz guy.
LB: I don’t know as far a non-jazz drummers, I like John McEntire who’s in Sea and Cake. I don’t know about influences. The band is a culmination of everything.
There is definitely some metal there, I hate to say noise rock, because it’s not really noise. It doesn’t fit that category at all, a little more melodic, it’s its own thing.
LB: That’s what I try to do.
Have you played Rumba Cafe on Columbus?
LB: We played Legion of Doom back in the day, that old house. I played another club, next to another club near campus.
Maybe Ace of Cups? There is always a lot going on down there.
LB: We’ve never played Rumba before.
Rumba is a nice small venue, interesting for a band like yours. They usually have smaller or folkier-type bands. It will be cool.
LB: It will be loud. Looking forward to it.
Lee thanks for your time and looking forward to seeing you at the show.
Celebrity Etc and Benco present The Body and Muscle Puzzle at Rumba Cafe on Thursday, June 2. Doors are at 8:30 and admission is $10.